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Bajans knocked out


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A LOT of industry and no small measure of pride, but in the end, Barbados’ interest at the AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships ended in two more defeats at the first hurdle yesterday afternoon at the Gymnasium of the Garfield Sobers Sports Complex, Wildey.
Molissa Narine was the first local pugilist to go the distance, but the experience of Kazakhstan’s Saida Khassenova was too much in a lop-sided 13-0 points decision in their light welterweight bout.
Just minutes later in the other ring, welterweight Kimberley Gittens produced the most encouraging Barbadian display of the championships before succumbing to Norway’s Lotte Lien midway through the fourth and final round.
Gittens, who seemed relaxed and confident from the time her radiant smile greeted the raucous cheers of a few hundred fans in the stand, produced a sound display and was level 1-1 after round one.
The crowd was even more vocal when she went ahead early in round two but Lien hit back to lead 4-3 after two.
The third round changed the course of the contest as Lien surged ahead 9-4, with Gittens having to endure two eight counts after a couple of effective flurries from Lien.
Gittens, obviously tiring and her guard slipping, was down 5-12 a minute into the final round when the referee eventually stopped the fight.
Coach Gary Bowen admitted some deficiencies within his Barbados quartet but maintained an optimistic outlook.
“There are a lot of things we have to work on. Fitness, technique, defence, there are quite a few things to make them better boxers,” he said.
“But what I saw would encourage any coach.”
Bowen said Gittens,18, a dancer and student of the Barbados Community College, showed great maturity despite her youth.
“I was really impressed by Kimberley’s attitude, or mannerisms. She came out there feeling very confident,” he said.
Bowen also said he had hoped Molissa, a 24-year-old soldier in the Barbados Defence Force, would have been more aggressive with her right hooks.
“You could see that she was jabbing and scoring with the jab but was not able to really push what needs to go behind those jabs, whether it was a right hand or a combination,” Bowen said.
“Unfortunately, you do not score points for jabs. I wanted to see more right hands.”
In other bouts yesterday afternoon, the elite boxers continued to underline their skill.
Ireland’s Katie Taylor, the reigning world lightweight champion, won her 97th bout in 103 fights with a 20-5 decision over Brazil’s Adriana Araujo, the Pan American champion.
Taylor did have to endure a standing eight count in the third round but was a class apart.
Two brash Americans also made their mark with Queen Underwood and Cashmere Jackson continuing their impressive run.
Underwood, who won a ill-tempered slugfest in the first round, was a disciplined winner this time around, content to outbox Thailand’s Supaporn Srisondee to a 8-0 points win.
Jackson, however, allowed her inner brawler to come through in a fast-paced encounter that ended with a 13-7 victory over China’s Yang Qinqin, the Asian Championships silver medalist.
Boxing continues today with just one session, from 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.